The pressure of high stakes testing on students, parents, teachers and principals hit its boiling point over the past year. Once the legislators heard from enough parents, many representatives and senators began proposing changes to the accountability system that would reduce the number of tests a student must take and change how those tests will count toward graduation. Any change would be welcomed relief.
Currently, students are tested every year from third grade to eighth grade. The students take end-of-course exams while in high school in all of the core academic subjects. Success on these exams is required for graduation. It is a cumbersome and complicated system that few understand.
Most of the proposals out of Austin reduce testing to grades 3, 5 and 8, in reading and math. Writing, science and social studies would be offered possible in 4th and 7th grades only. There has been some discussion of reducing the required number of end-of-course exams and simplifying how those tests will impact graduation.
Schools should be accountable to the community for the success of every student we serve. However, standardized tests should not be the only measure of student success. Eliminating the emphasis on a single test will certainly take some of the pressure off our students and our teachers.
We will keep you posted as the proposals develop. Let us know if you have specific concerns or questions about the plans for testing.